9.The Forests in Kamchatka
About one thousand species of vascular plants inhabit the oblast
We are not going to describe all of them here......
Click here to look at the flowers
But as the forest are a dominating part of the flora of Kamchatka,
they also deserve
their own page in this story about Kamchatka..
Kamchatka's forest stock (Jan.1998) amounts to 15,046,300 ha, or
of the total land area. Stone birch (see below), are the most widespread
and comprise four-fiths
of all of Kamchatka's forests. They are dominant in the lowlands
and in the middle zone of the
mountainous parts of the peninsula. Dahurian larch (see below) forests
Kamchatka's lowland and extend to an altitude of 200-300m in the
Other species occurquite rarely, often in highly localized habitats.
most widely distributed species are Japanese stone pine (Pinus
The Japanese stone pine grows in high mountain areas and has a lot
The height is short, ranging from 1 to 2 meters.
© The shirayama-no-ki Archives
no picture available yet
dominating tree in Kamchatka: Shrub alder (Alnus incana)
The rough bluejoint (Calamagrostis langsdorfii / canadensis).
all Kamchatkas forest species elfin cedar (Pinus pumila
(Pallas) Regel) deserves a
special attention. The nuts from its cones are not so big as of
Siberian cedar, but also
very healthy; they are intensively picked and used in food.
Elfin cedar (Pinus pumila (Pallas) Regel)
From a bird's-eye view, the brushwood of elfin cedar resembles
dark green thick carpets
thrown by a caring hand over the mountain ridges. It looks soft
as a harmless undergrowth
with regular trees rising solidly over it. However, these are ones
of the most hard to traverse
places in Kamchatka.
The cedar's branches always go down along the slope. Continuos thickets
of the cedar are
absolutely impassable, and this is still more pitiful for the fact
that the cedar forest's height
seldom exceeds one and a half or two meters. Anyway this tree is
terrific. Dry elfin cedar's
branches burn like gunpowder in any weather, the infusion of the
cedar's needles is the best
medicine for scurvy, and its cones ripening in September make happy
all those who are keen
on cedar nuts. The only question here is who is going to be the
first to pick them: a man,
a bear or a nut-cracker.
birch (Betula ermanii)
Kamchatka's forest is certainly the forest of Erman's birch. An
unpretentious tree that learnt
to grow both in the valley and in the mountains covers nearly one
third of the entire area of
Kamchatka. It is still most wide-spread, meanwhile the scarce larch,
fur and poplar forests
are cut down as timber. It would be the most sorrowful result of
this human "economic activity"
if after the extermination of more valuable tree breeds, the Erman's
birch - one of the symbols
of Kamchatka along with geysers, salmon and bears - will follow
the same doom.
Photo: © GeoPacifica.org
communities occupy the lower
and middle mountain belt in Southern
. The birches on the plateaus in the mountains are crooked as if by
evil chants, in the river
valleys they are vigorous and unshakeable. The birches' roots can
hold the tree horizontally
on the precipes and such steep slopes where even stlanik cannot grow.
Kamchatka's summer is short: birch buds open in June while in August
the trees have yellow
"locks" - the first sign of approaching autumn.
aromatic poplar, (Populus suaveolens)
apsen , (Populus tremula)
dahurian larch , (Larix gmelini)
Ayan spruce, (Picea ayanensis)
monarch birch, (Betula maximovitschii)
Flood-plain forests of chosenia (Chosenia arbutifolia
and aromatic poplar
stretch in narrow strips along the banks of rivers.
The only place the Sakhalin fir, (Abies sachalinensis), grows in Kamchatka,
is near the souther border of the Kronotsky Biosphere Zapovednik,
protected area of all Kamchatka, formed as long ago as in 1882 to
snow sheep and reindeer.
Text and pictures on this page: Courtesy:
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